March 16, 2017 / 10:42 AM / 3 years ago

Egypt aims to resume Saudi Aramco oil product imports

A Saudi Aramco employee sits in the area of its stand at the Middle East Petrotech 2016, an exhibition and conference for the refining and petrochemical industries, in Manama, Bahrain, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Files

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt aims to resume importing oil products from Saudi Aramco by the end of March or early April, the country’s petroleum minister told Reuters on Thursday.

Tarek El Molla said that a deal to import crude from Iraq would remain in place as it was not a replacement for Saudi oil shipments which were halted late last year.

Saudi Arabia agreed in April 2016 to provide Egypt with 700,000 tonnes of refined oil products per month for five years but the cargoes stopped arriving in early October.

Saudi Aramco declined to comment on the report.

Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry said on Wednesday that it was working with Aramco on a timetable for the resumption of imports and that the reasons behind the October cut-off were purely commercial.

Though officials from both sides have denied the existence of tensions or disagreements between the two countries, the two have been at odds on a number of political issues.

Egypt voted in favour of a Russian-backed but Saudi-opposed U.N. resolution on Syria in October, which excluded calls to stop bombing Aleppo.

In January an Egyptian court rejected a government plan to transfer two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Asma Alsharif; editing by Jason Neely

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